FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 21st

Last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks got some nice production from the players that played, although there were some players that didn’t start their respective games as well.

Our lineup got started off on the right note with a fantastic performance from Reds right-hander Sonny Gray. Gray hurled six innings of one-run ball to go along with 10 punchouts while earning the win over the San Diego Padres. His magical rebound season continues while the strikeouts continue to come in droves for the veteran.

Our four-man Cubs stack didn’t exactly get a ton of production throughout, and Ian Happ didn’t get the starting nod, so you would have had an outfield or utility position to play with. That said, Anthony Rizzo had a huge night as he clubbed a pair of solo home runs in this one. Kyle Schwarber doubled and walked twice while Javier Baez singled and scored a run. Rizzo and Schwarber contributed, but I wanted more from Baez in this stack, although it wasn’t the worst result we’ve had with a stack, either.

Our Phillies mini-stack turned into a one-off as Sean Rodriguez interestingly didn’t start against the left-hander Brian Johnson despite some big-time numbers versus lefties this season. Cesar Hernandez did fine in knocking a couple of base hits, but I like wouldn’t have used him as a one-off once Rodriguez wasn’t in the starting lineup.

The scratches continued as outfielder Lane Thomas didn’t start as Harrison Bader was brought back up from the minors, so there’s another outfield position that would have required some filling.

Finally, our last one-off Joc Pederson did his part, although he didn’t hit out of the leadoff spot. It was actually quite fortunate as Pederson clubbed a three-run home run off of a position player in the Jays’ Richard Urena as the Dodgers blew out the Blue Jays 16-3.

We got excellent production from our starters in this lineup, and let’s keep that going on tonight’s 11-game main slate!

P – Walker Buehler (LAD) – $11,000 vs. TOR

To me, you have to pay up for a pitcher on this slate. You have Justin Verlander, Walker Buehler and Patrick Corbin all pitching in wonderful situations on this 11-game slate, and to me, it’s probably got to be one of those three you roll with unless you want to go down a little further and grab someone like Yu Darvish at home against the Giants. For me, I’ll take Buehler as he’s a little more cost-efficient than Verlander and could very realistically boast some of the same upside despite Verlander facing the strikeout-prone Tigers. Buehler’s matchup isn’t too shabby either as he takes on a Blue Jays club that sports the eighth-highest strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching this season, and while they’ve hit for more power in the second half of the season, Buehler’s 1.02 HR/9 on the season is much lower than the 1.64 mark Verlander owns on the season. Buehler has pitched to a 3.31 ERA on the season, but also a 2.99 FIP and 3.36 xFIP to go along with a big 10.57 K/9 clip and a tiny 1.66 BB/9 rate. Furthermore, he sports a 2.33 ERA at home to go along with a 2.39 FIP, 2.80 xFIP and a massive 13.43 K/BB ratio as he punches out 11.54 batters per nine innings at home and walks just 0.86 per nine. He has a 15 strikeout game and a 16 strikeout game at home as well, so let’s grab the elite young right-hander in this one tonight.

C/1B – Logan Morrison (PHI) – $2,100 vs. BOS

Of course, Buehler is costing us a pretty penny tonight at an $11K price tag, so we are going to have to find some value bats somewhere in this lineup, especially since I’m also paying up for a high-upside stack as well. After playing Triple-A ball for most of the season, Morrison latched on with the Phillies and has gotten into five games with the big club to this point, but only with eight plate appearances. That said, Morrison has done serious damage at the Triple-A level this season as he hit 15 home runs and posted a massive .368 ISO in the Yankees’ system earlier in the year before catching on with the Phillies and posted a .237 ISO with three homers in just 18 games for the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. Of course, Morrison has shown big-time power versus right-handed pitching in the big leagues prior to this season as he owns a career .209 ISO versus righties and a 111 wRC+ against them as well. Even when he was cut loose by the Twins last season he was hitting right-handers for a powerful .204 ISO. Morrison has also has success of tonight’s Red Sox starter Rick Porcello as he’s gone 12 for 40 (.300) with three doubles and two homers off of him, good for a .225 ISO and .874 OPS versus the veteran right-hander. Add it all up and I think there’s plenty of value upside at this near-minimum price.

2B – Whit Merrifield (KC) – $3,400 vs. BAL

My main stack tonight is going to be a four-man Royals stack as they take on right-hander Aaron Brooks and the Baltimore Orioles in the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards tonight. Brooks is one of the most targetable pitchers in DFS right now as he enters this one sporting a 6.49 ERA, 5.94 FIP, 5.31 xFIP and a 2.20 HR/9 clip across 13 starts and 22 appearances on the season. He’s also allowed 14 earned runs over his last two starts spanning just 8.1 innings, so we have something to work with here, especially when we factor in the brutal Orioles bullpen that has the league’s worst ERA at a ghastly 6.36 mark. Enter Merrifield who has to be on the peskiest leadoff men in the game as he simply gets the job done against both left and right-handed pitching. His power is usually up against lefties, but Merrifield still owns a .312 average, .821 OPS, .347 wOBA and 115 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching on the season, with all of those figures, save for the OPS, superior versus right-handed pitchers. He also owns a .179 ISO, .876 OPS, .367 wOBA and 129 wRC+ on the road versus righties this season. We get power and speed with Merrifield has he’s hit 14 homers and stolen 16 bases on the season, so let’s grab the huge cross-category potential with the Royals’ second baseman tonight.

3B – Hunter Dozier (KC) – $4,100 vs. BAL

One of the league top breakout players of 2019, Dozier brings a wealth of power into this matchup against a pitcher who is surrendering more than his fair share of home runs. After not exactly posting a consistent track record of power in his minor league career, Dozier hit 11 homers after his promotion to the big leagues last season in just over half a year’s worth of action, showing some power potential in the process. This season, he’s hit 22 home runs and posted a .266 ISO to cement his status as a power bat in the big leagues, even if he’s a late bloomer at the age of 27. The power is up versus lefties, but let’s not scoff at Dozier’s big-time .255 ISO, .906 OPS, .374 wOBA and 133 wRC+ on the season versus right-handed pitching. The power plays up on the road outside of his pitcher-friendly home park at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City as Dozier owns a huge .292 ISO to go along with an .884 OPS, .362 wOBA and 125 wRC+ on the season against right-handers away from home. Dozier’s consistency has been on display as well as he posted a .250 ISO, .899 OPS, .371 wOBA and 131 wRC+ in the first half of the season, but he’s elevated his performance to a .295 ISO, .951 OPS, .389 wOBA and 144 wRC+ since the All-Star break, including a .388 ISO, 1.049 OPS, .418 wOBA and 163 wRC+ in the month of August. No need to fade the big third baseman tonight.

SS – Jean Segura (PHI) – $3,300 vs. BOS

The shortstop position is a little bit difficult to fill tonight, especially when we have to keep costs down with some expensive pitchers on the slate. However, with Morrison at such a low price I was able to fit in a Phillies mini-stack against Porcello and his 5.49 ERA on the season. For starters, I usually want to roster Segura against left-handed pitching as that’s where most of his power comes from, but he remains a fairly productive bat against righties as well and as had success against Porcello in his career, so I do not mind him as part of a mini-stack in this one tonight. For the season versus righties, Segura owns a .284 average while he brings some solid stolen base upside to the table as well with seven steals on the season, all of which have come against right-handed pitching. Segura is also swinging a hot bat at the plate right now as he is riding a four-game hit streak entering this one and has gone 6 for 16 (.375) with four doubles, four runs scored and four RBI in that span. His four doubles have come over the last three games and his four RBI have come over his last two games, including a double and two RBI in last night’s series-opening win. Given the thin crop of shortstops, especially when we factor in price and matchup, I’ll use Segura at fairly low ownership as part of a mini-stack tonight.

OF – Jorge Soler (KC) – $3,800 vs. BAL

Next man up in our four-man Royals stack is Soler who, like Dozier, has enjoyed a big breakout with the bat here in 2019. Soler struggled to both stay healthy and find a regular spot in either the Cubs or Royals outfielder prior to this season, but he’s taken off in full-time work this time around. Entering this one tonight, Soler has smacked 35 home runs on the season, almost tripling his previous career-high of 12 set in part-time duty with the Cubs in 2016. The best news with Soler for this matchup tonight is the fact that he owns reverse splits on the season. Against right-handed pitchers such as Brooks, Soler has blasted 26 of his 35 home runs and owns a huge .313 ISO, .932 OPS, .382 wOBA and 139 wRC+ versus same-handed pitching on the season. The numbers trend up on the road to a .335 ISO, .939 OPS, .385 wOBA and 141 wRC+ versus righties away from home. Furthermore, Soler is enjoying a massive month of August to this point as he owns an eye-popping .471 ISO, 1.338 OPS, .526 wOBA and 236 wRC+ for the month to this point. Against a pitching staff that is allowing the most home runs in baseball this season, Soler has some of the slate’s largest home run upside to be sure.

OF – Adam Duvall (ATL) – $2,900 vs. MIA

I think we have something here with Duvall and the Braves as they take on left-hander Caleb Smith and the Miami Marlins tonight. Smith is having a nice season and appears to be a real nice young arm for the Marlins’ future, however Smith has been susceptible to the long ball this season, especially on the road where he owns a huge 2.30 HR/9 rate despite logging a 3.95 ERA on the road. He owns a 5.20 FIP and 4.91 xFIP versus right-handed bats on the road as well, so I will be rostering a couple of cost-efficient Braves outfielders in this one tonight, beginning here with Duvall who has smacked left-handed pitching in the big leagues and the minors this season. At Triple-A prior to his big league promotion, Duvall posted a monstrous 1.154 OPS versus left-handed pitching with 10 home runs in just 89 at-bats against them. In the big leagues, all Duvall has done is post a .358 average to go along with a massive .474 ISO, 1.251 OPS, .486 wOBA and 201 wRC+ versus lefties across a 19 at-bat sample size with three homers in that time. The power versus lefties is nothing new as Duvall owns a career .228 ISO versus them and a 102 wRC+ to boot, so I’m all over this guy against a pitcher allowing a ton of home runs away from his pitcher-friendly home venue tonight.

OF – Charlie Culberson (ATL) – $2,000 vs. MIA

It’s player like Culberson who give us the opportunity to roster some high-upside bats like we have with our Royals stack. That said, he’s not just a throw in at minimum cost for salary reasons, but rather a player who could give this lineup a big shot in the arm with some production given his splits on the season. Like Duvall, Culberson is mashing left-handed pitching this season as he owns a .370 average, .239 ISO, .992 OPS, .410 wOBA and a 152 wRC+ against southpaw pitching. In other words, with park factors included, Culberson has been 52% above league average versus left-handers this season. At home versus lefties, he owns a .313 ISO, .978 OPS, .397 wOBA and 144 wRC+. The one downside with Culberson is that he has been struggling at the plate of late despite seeing some fairly regular playing time over the last couple of weeks, but at the minimum price I think we certainly have something to work with here. He’s 1 for 3 with an RBI in a tiny career sample against Smith, but I’m here for the power upside against a pitcher that’s been yielding the long ball on the road this season.

UTIL – Ryan O’Hearn (KC) – $2,400 vs. BAL

Completing our four-man Royals stack is O’Hearn who isn’t have a great season this time around, but could certainly deliver some value at this price given some past production. This season against right-handed pitching, O’Hearn owns a .139 ISO and .582 OPS, very poor numbers to be sure. However, the numbers perk up somewhat to a decent .152 ISO and .648 OPS on the road versus righties, and the Royals will indeed hit in a hitter-friendly environment tonight. That said, there’s time for O’Hearn to turn things around and we don’t have to look too far back for evidence of his ability to hit right-handed pitching for power. Last season across a 112 at-bat sample size versus righties, O’Hearn posted a massive .393 ISO, 1.108 OPS, .458 wOBA and a 194 wRC+. He also hit righties for a .412 ISO, 1.132 OPS, .467 wOBA and 200 wRC+ on the road versus righties last season. Furthermore the 26-year-old O’Hearn has posted a huge 1.049 OPS against right-handed pitching at the Triple-A level this season. Truth be told, I had a utility spot open with $2,400 to spend in this lineup tonight, and we might as well go with O’Hearn to complete a four-man stack given the massive numbers he’s shown versus righties in recent history despite some poor numbers so far across 74 big league games this season.

Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.